Clark Gaither Joins Us On The Steve Jobs Inspired Join Up Dots Podcast
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Introducing Clark Gaither
Clark Gaither is our guest today on the Steve Jobs inspired Join Up Dots free podcast interview.
He is a man who believes whole heartedly in the power of words.
But not just using words that make us seem big and important.
No, he believes that the words that we should be seeking to use, are as he says in his own ways “The words which hold the most power for you are the ones which move you on an emotional level. If you and another person share the same Powerful Words, you will be connected to that person and they to you, even if they are a stranger. This book is about finding your Powerful Words and using them in whatever you do as you set out to help others in whatever capacity you choose. It is about telling your story, your personal truth. This is where your greatest influence resides.”
Now of course this concept is not new to me, or should it be for any podcaster or media person, but what about the man in the street?
What use are these to him?
How The Dots Joined Up For Dr Clark
Well, we find out during the show but one thing for sure today’s guest has many different occasions, on almost a daily basis where he performs as a a writer, speaker, podcast producer and personal coach for physicians and other professionals who suffer from burnout.
Also, he has enjoyed a career in medicine for the past 22 years as part of an office based family practice in Goldsboro, North Carolina, which has led him to give hundreds of lectures up and down the east coast to physicians, professional groups and the public on various topics such as physician burnout, addiction and recovery issues, hypertension, cholesterol disorders to name just a few.
So what is his passion in life?
Where does he feel that he ignites his true super talent and brings the most value to the world?
And out of all the powerful words he could choose, which would he say was his favourite?
Well lets find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up dots with the one and only Clark Gaither MD
During the show we discussed such weighty topics with Clark Gaither such as:
How he found the path towards his future at the top of a Spanish mountain surrounded by mist, asking for clarity in his life….guess what, he found it!
How he has never felt that he fitted perfectly into the medical profession even though he was operating within his zone of excellence. The zone of genius was where he was aiming and could never achieve.
Why a letter that he found on the seat of his car changed his life forever and in such an unexpected manner that he will always call it a “Tragedy”
We discuss the six stages of professional burnout that we can all encounter, and probably have all experienced in our lives at one way or another.
Why there is nothing in our lives that we can’t achieve if we only ask for help, or pay for help when we feel that we can’t go any further.
Clark Gaither Books
How To Connect With Clark Gaither
Or if you prefer just pop over to our podcast archive for thousands of amazing episodes to choose from.
Full Transcription Of Clark Gaither Interview
When we’re young, we have an amazing positive outlook about how great life is going to be. But somewhere along the line we forget to dream and end up settling. Join Up Dots features amazing people who refuse to give up and chose to go after their dreams. This is your blueprint for greatness. So here’s your host live from the back of his garden in the UK, David Ralph.
David Ralph [0:26]
Yes, hello there, David Ralph, Join Up Dots Episode 493. And as voiceover man was saying, These are the kind of guys that are just not gonna give up. And we’re moving into the sort of the 500 to 600 shows. And so we’ve got a lot of things going on this side of the microphone, but so is our guest today. And he literally as I don’t know how he packed it into his days, but without a doubt, I suppose the nuts and bolts of it is he’s a man who believes wholeheartedly in the power of words, but not just using words that make us seem big and important. Now He believes that the words that we should be seeking to use are as he says, In his own words, the words which hold the most power for you are the ones which move you on an emotional level. If you and another person share the same powerful words, you’ll be connected to that person and vice to you, even if they’re a stranger. Now he’s written a book and it’s about finding your powerful words and using them in whatever you do as you set out to help others in whatever capacity you choose. It’s about telling your story, your personal truth, and he believes this is where our greatest influence resides. Now, of course, this concept is not new to me, or it shouldn’t be for any podcaster or media person. But what about the man in the street? What use of these to him? Well, we’ll find out during the show. But one thing for sure, today’s guest has many different occasions on almost a daily basis, where he can bring his skills of being a writer, speaker, podcaster producer and personal coach for physicians and any other professionals who suffer from burnout to the fullest. Also, he’s enjoyed a career in medicine for the past 22 years as part of an office based family practice in Goldsboro, North Carolina, which has led him to give hundreds of lectures up and down the East Coast to physicians, professional groups and the public on various topics, such as physician burnout, addiction and recovery issues, hypertension, cholesterol disorders, to name just a few. So what is his passion in life? Where does he feel better he ignites his true super talent and brings the most value to the world. And out of all the powerful words he could choose, which would he say was his favourite? Well, let’s find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up starts with the one and only Dr Clark Gaither MD How are you Dr. Clark?
Clark Gaither [2:40]
Good morning, David. I am great.
David Ralph [2:43]
You are great on you. As we were talking beforehand, you seem like you know, the well just goes on its way and you breeze through it a certain way you sort of operate or you generally let that stuff happen and I just do my own thing.
Clark Gaither [2:57]
Well, let me just say that lots has happened to me over my lifetime. Some of it was planned and a lot of it was not planned. But you know, it’s those unplanned circumstances that really give us the best lever to enjoy life to its fullest and to find our arena where we’re passionate and we can operate with some purpose.
David Ralph [3:20]
Most people get freaked buddy I’m playing things that get come their way. Well, what makes you different?
Clark Gaither [3:26]
Well, it I guess it was a trial by fire. I was this past. Well, two years ago, three years ago now, something tragic happened and it really turned my world upside down. And I was really kind of searching for path to walk that would give me some peace and some comfort and some happiness and I decided I would go on a hiking trip and so I went to laga mera Spain, which is a it’s the second of the smallest Canary Islands and Of course, they’re off the coast of Morocco, but they’re governed by Spain. And I went on that island to seek some clarity. And my first day, it was the only day that it rained on the whole trip. But it was my longest hike. And I was supposed to go from like 300 feet above sea level, to the top of the central mountain, which was 4800 feet and then back down the other side to around 1500 feet to the next town where I’d be staying the next night. And so I started my hike I got I got a light start, it started to drizzle. I took a couple of faults paths. And so I was just plodding along. And when I got to the top of the mountain, it was completely shrouded in cloud and I thought, well, how ironic. I came here for some clarity. And I can’t see anything. So I just sat down and I asked myself the question, how did I get here? What were the circumstances that led to made to be on this island by myself at the top of the mountain in shrouded in cloud. And I noticed that it was those events in life that might be considered adverse or tragic. That really caused me to pivot and change direction. And when I did my life turned out better than I had planned. And so I began to sow some seeds of gratitude there for the the events that some people would say, are hard part a hardship, or something that was tragic. That really actually turned out to be the best thing that could have happened to me. But as the sake of my book, were planted right there right then.
David Ralph [5:50]
Yeah, I can imagine that well, when you get that kind of dawning realisation because I get fat every single day and that’s why we created this show, based on the words of Steve Jobs that we will hear a lot To learn, because literally is, but tough times. It’s the hard times. It’s the black dots that are the real learning. And I look back on my own life and I think, yeah, that was terrible. But I’m so glad I went through it. So when you was why did you choose that island? First of all, because I know the Canary Islands quite well. And when you said that name, I thought, hang on. I don’t know this one. What made you choose that one?
Clark Gaither [6:25]
Well, I had been searching around online for a hiking destination, and I’ve got some adventurous spirit and I’m curious. And so I wanted to go someplace I’d never been and I was looking around online there was a company called max adventures and they really organise hiking, self directed hiking tours, and they make all the arrangements and have your bags taken to the next location. So you can just, you know, hike to the next destination and had one on Lago mera. And I thought this was great. And I checked out the island online. But when I wanted to go, they did not offer a tour. Or they did not offer a an opportunity to go when I when I had the time to go. And so I just booked it all myself. And it was one of the best vacations I’ve ever had. It really was, it was awesome.
David Ralph [7:25]
So if we saw a tight queue from that mountain, and obviously, well, I imagine you didn’t start scribbling words into a book at that point. But you had the idea. You had the concept, and you brought it back to you. back to America. How did you start working on it? It’s all having this idea about, I’m going to write a book about powerful words, but how do you find out what the right powerful words are to put in that book?
Clark Gaither [7:51]
Well, like I said something
bad happened a little over three years ago that really turned my world upside down. It was my wife, she actually left. And we had had a normal Valentine’s Day and everything seemed fine. I thought everything was fine. I came out of my office the next day and to go home and lying on the seat of my jeep was a letter and I opened the letter and it was from my, my wife at that time. And it said, my, my feelings have changed. I’m leaving. I’ve already consulted an attorney. And it was like a bomb had gone off. I just couldn’t believe I couldn’t square what had happened the day before on Valentine’s Day and the previous 24 years together, I couldn’t square that with what I was reading and it really just ripped me apart. And for the first four months, all I could do is cry. I mean, it was just it was just awful. I lost 41 pounds. I couldn’t sleep and it was just one of the toughest things. I’ve ever gone through. And I had all this emotion I had to do something with and so I started blogging, and I couldn’t, I couldn’t believe how much better it made me feel it gave me an outlet for for all this raw emotion I had inside. Now the blog I started initially was a recovery related blog because that’s another turning point in my life was I became alcoholic when I was in my 20s. And I got sober January 23 1990 as my sobriety date. So I just celebrated soberly celebrated 26 years of sobriety. Congratulations. Thank you, and that that’s another one of those events that I’m actually grateful for. But anyway, I had all this emotion. And so I started blogging, and that later led into my area of interest with professional burnout. And so I changed that A theme of my blog a bit, but I had all these blog posts. And when I got back from the island hiking on the island, I sat down and I printed out all the titles, and I was looking at them. And there was a theme that was running through about half of them. And so I pulled those together. And that was the first 40% of my book was actually posts I’d already written. The other 60% I wrote over the next three or four months, and the book came out may 19 of last year.
David Ralph [10:32]
So it was it was quite a quick process. What was the book kind of always popping away in you? Were you surprised at how quickly you got it out? I thought you were gonna say two or three years writing it but it’s come flooding out.
Clark Gaither [10:44]
I came it’s just me and the dog, my dog Eli and so most of my evenings I would come home and sit down at a computer and start writing and it it you know people talk about being in the zone or being in flow. Yeah, it just seemed like Like it was all there waiting, it seemed like all those events that I write about in the book, were really in preparation for the book. And and since it, you know, all those stories came from my life, I was intimately familiar with them. So it, it just kind of flowed onto the page. And it you know, I was scared to death, I couldn’t come up with 40,000 words. And so I passed 40,000 words, and then 50 and then 60. And I still had stuff to say. And so it ended up being an 85,000 word book is 366 pages. It’s actually pretty long book. But I included stories not only from my life, but the lives of some of my friends and some of my patients, and people who’ve read it, say that it’s helped them and that’s what my goal was as as I wanted it to Help people not only get through maybe some times in their own life where they felt stuck, but I wanted it to help them know that they have a story to tell. And when they share those stories, they can connect with another person on an emotional level and help them.
David Ralph [12:19]
But one of the problems that most physicians have or a nurses that I see is that they’re so busy helping people, but they they kind of lose track of our own needs and requirements. So you would say from from listening to you, you’ve already been through that journey you aware of issue about over helping?
Clark Gaither [12:40]
Well, it that is certainly true in any of the professions where there are service oriented jobs. burnout rates are high and nowhere are they highest than among physicians, and I myself got burned out about five years ago. I went to My partner and I said, Look, if something doesn’t change, I’m gonna have to leave medicine. I just felt miserable because I felt that there are three principal hallmarks to burnout one is emotional exhaustion. And that’s where you feel like you’re just spent, you just, you have nothing left to give, you’ve left it all out there, you can’t. You don’t have the energy, mental energy or emotional energy to connect with your patient on an emotional or psychological level anymore. So it’s just emotional exhaustion. The second is depersonalization. And that’s where you become cynical, you almost feel like the patient is deserving of their problems. And that cynicism is really a poison pill to you know, the everyday practice of, of empathetic medicine and so, but I hit that one and then the last one was a lack of a sense of personal accomplishment. And that’s where you feel like nothing you do is making any difference. You can’t see that you’re moving the ball. down the field in a way that’s beneficial not only to the patient, but but to you personally and professionally. And so I had hit all three of them. And it’s interesting 90% of the time, it’s the, excuse me, it’s the job that burns out the individual. It’s not the individual that burns himself out or herself. It’s the work environment. And which was Can I can I jump in? Can I
David Ralph [14:26]
get your opinion, because that’s a key point for the listeners. Because we don’t get burned out if we’re doing something we love. But we do get burnt out if we’re doing something bad is taking too much emotion or passion just to get going. I know that from corporate environment, you obviously know it from that. Is that something that the listeners have to be very aware of, if they’re thinking, Oh, god, I’m so exhausted in the evening that probably they might somehow be on the wrong track.
Clark Gaither [14:55]
Absolutely. If you hit any of those hallmarks, even just one One of them then you are either on your way to burning out or you’re burning out. And it there there are six major causes of burnout. One is work overload. Second is lack of control. The third is absence of fairness. The fourth is breakdown of community. The fifth is insufficient reward. And the sixth one is conflicting values. And so when when people hit those mismatches in their work that sets them up for burnout. And of course, everybody’s work overloaded these days. And in big companies, there is a tendency for centralised control and so the employee loses some control over what they do during the course of their day with their work in which stifles innovation and creativity and so they feel constrained and sometimes they know exactly what needs to be done, but they can’t do it. Because it’s against the rules, or it’s against company policy, and conflicting values is one of the biggest when people feel like they’re being asked to do something that goes against their core values, then they really have trouble on record reconciling what they’re being asked to do with their internal compass. And so it can be very damaging to the individual. And so those are the kinds of things that burn people out. And it’s interesting among entrepreneurs, how many entrepreneurs got their start? Because they were burned out on whatever they were doing beforehand. Yeah, I think that’s
David Ralph [16:42]
true. I do think that is totally true. And I wasn’t burnt out but I was every morning waking up going to love it. It was like, just no enthusiasm in me and I remember going to my doctor a couple of times and saying to him, I don’t really feel ill I just kind of feel It was just like, I couldn’t pinpoint what was wrong with me. Now I look back on it. And I think what was wrong with me was I spending all my time doing something that just didn’t blow me up. It was I was just bored. I think I was deeply, deeply bored. And since I’ve made that change, life has has become very different. So talking about sort of an internal compass, with you now making bold and creative decisions in your life. What’s your compass right at the very beginning, when you went into the medical practice, practice, was that right? Or now you look back on it, you think, Oh, no, maybe it wasn’t quite the way it should have been pointing?
Clark Gaither [17:36]
Well, it’s a it’s a great question. And it’s one I spent a lot of time thinking about. A few years ago, I started when all the you know, tragedy happened. I started, of course, looking at other things I wanted to do with my life and I’m 61 and you know, there are certainly fewer days ahead and there are behind and so it was a time of introspection. I went to an event on coaching, personal coaching. And the leader of the event asked me why are you here and I told him that I feel like I’m operating in my zone of excellence at my work. I mean, I feel like I’m a good physician, but I never felt like I quite fit what I was doing. And the best way I can explain it is I use lots of exam gloves every day we use exam gloves, and I have tried on every exam glove. You can imagine I’ve tried them nitrile gloves, PVC, latex, rubber gloves, and whole sizes, half sizes, quarter sizes, and I can tell you I’ve never really felt like I’ve found a pair of gloves that fit my hands perfectly. And that is exactly how I have felt in medicine for the last 27 years. I feel like I’ve never quite fit the job perfectly, or it has not fit me perfectly. And while I think I’m good at medicine I’ve taken, I feel like I’ve taken great care of my patients. It may be my zone of excellence, but it’s not much my zone of genius. That’s something that gay Hendricks talks about. In his book, The big leap. He talks about working in your zone of excellence versus your zone of genius. And so I’ve enjoyed my time in medicine, but I also know that it doesn’t light me up on the inside, like I imagine something else might and I’m beginning to get those feelings. And I have gotten them over the last couple of years writing and that’s something that I really enjoy. I also enjoy speaking and so my last day in clinical medicine will be April 29. I’m going to move in that are Rena are in that direction more of more riding, more public speaking and doing some workshops and seminars and what I hope will be my zone of genius.
David Ralph [20:11]
I’ll be thinking of you because we launched this show on April the 30th, which was my birthday. So the day after, ah, so we will be thinking will be closely linked. So give us an explanation, Ben, what is the difference between zone of excellence and zone of genius?
Clark Gaither [20:27]
Well, a zone of excellence is where you may operate efficiently. You may push all the right buttons, you may dot all the i’s and cross all the T’s and you might do your job perfectly. But in terms of creativity, or innovation, or pulling disparate bits of information together and creating something new, that’s a zone of genius and we look at those creative of individuals and we think, what’s the first thing we think? Ah, genius. They’re geniuses, you know, because they’ve been able to distil their knowledge base pulling on different areas of knowledge and experience and expertise. And they’re able to combine all those little bits into something innovative or creative or new, that serves people well, and we call those people genius. In terms of excellence, yeah, I think I’ve been an excellent physician. I’ve tried not to make no mistakes with my patients, and I’ve tried to offer them the best care. And I feel I’ve done that, but I can’t say that I’ve been creative or innovative, and in the field of medicine,
David Ralph [21:50]
well, let’s play some words. Now. Ben, I’m gonna delve a little bit deeper into what you were just talking about, but this is a good leader. This is Jim Carrey.
Jim Carrey [21:58]
My father could have been a great comedian. But he didn’t believe that that was possible for him. And so he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant. And when I was 12 years old, he was let go from that safe job. And our family had to do whatever we could to survive. I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want. So you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.
David Ralph [22:25]
So I’m gonna send you back in time, obviously, at the end of the show, but in this little question linked into that, that sound clip. If I could send you back now with a magic wand or a TARDIS or some kind of DeLorean and you go back in time, would you look at becoming a writer before the medical profession or could you have not got to your area that is starting to ignite you now without them?
Clark Gaither [22:49]
You know, it’s a tough question, David, and this one I think about often, you know, when, when something we make a decision and We look back on our lives and we say okay, I made that decision and here was the outcome and it was not good. I should have made the other decision. We make an assumption then that the other decision will turn out better. And of course, we have no way of knowing that. That That is true. It may have things may have turned out worse. I write about this in my book, there was an event with one of my patients. He, his son, ran out of the house in the morning, go to work. And the dad said, Wait a minute. Don’t you be late for dinner again, and then he turned around and smiled. And then he jumped on his motorcycle and took off down the highway and not 90 seconds later, a car ran through a stop sign and hit him and he was killed. And his father was just devastated, of course. They had lost his son. But he also blamed himself because he, he held him up. And he felt like if he hadn’t, he hadn’t stopped him and made that comment to them. He would have already been through the intersection and the car wouldn’t have hit him and he wouldn’t have been killed. And he carried this burden for a long time. And I worked with him for a couple of years and and I said, you know, you have to really you’re gonna have to set this down. It couldn’t have it. You assume that if you did that he would still be alive, but you don’t know that. You also the event he was in control of the sun had control of was that he overslept that morning. And he overslept because he was out late the night before with some friends. And he was out with the friends because a friend of his called and said, hey, let’s go out And have a few beers. And so if any of those events had not occurred, then he would also have survived. And so that and that helped him a little bit. He eventually got past that, that block, but for the longest time he blamed himself. So when we look back in our lives and and say, Gee, I made that big mistake, if I’d only gone the other way, we assume that the other way may have been, you know, softer or easier or cushy or, or nothing bad would have happened, when it could have just as easily been the reverse. And also, it’s those tragic moments or those adverse moments or those difficulties or those struggles. That really brought us to where we are now. And I feel like I’m in a great place now. And so, would I change anything? It’s a difficult question. I suppose certainly didn’t choose in some ways to be become an alcoholic. I mean, sir sure I went out and I drank excessively and kept drank drinking when I could have stopped but you know, when you’re addicted, the choice to stop is taken away by the substance. And but I look back at at getting sober and what that meant to me after and people will tell you I’m almost fundamentally a different person in recovery than I was before I became alcoholic. And my life became so much fuller and richer, and possibilities opened up that I had not seen before becoming alcoholic. So that’s why we, we talk about gratitude in recovery meetings. If if it took becoming alcoholic, to be where I am now then so be it. I can look back and be grateful So it’s a difficult question is, you know, if you could go back in time, what would you really change? And would it would you have ended up better off if you did
David Ralph [27:11]
is interesting listening to you talk for you, obviously very positive in your mindset. And you think deeply on these subjects, and have them ready gaining a feeling of you more than a feeling, but you like the failures as much as the good stuff, because that’s what made you who you are, and that’s led you to this path. But three times in the conversation, you’ve mentioned your wife leaving as a tragedy. Why are you using such a strong word? A powerful word for that, when all the other things you’ve talked about is kind of like, that was part of life’s plan. It just kind of happened. I’ve had to deal with it. Why is that such a tragedy to you?
Clark Gaither [27:50]
Well, it was at the time it was certainly a tragedy. I mean, when you get emotionally attached to someone, especially With someone you’ve known for that length of time, those attachments are not easily severed. And so, you know, we had made plans. We had future plans that were set and that we were working toward, and, you know, all of that got kind of torn up and thrown down. And it was an extremely painful process. So, I think that so much that could have been turned out not to be that I, you know, I still view it as a tragedy. Now, having said that, since it happened, my life has taken completely different turns on doing things I probably never would have done, had that not occurred. And so I can, I can look back with gratitude, I can bend that pain to a higher purpose. I don’t think the pain will ever completely dissipate. But I can bend it to a higher purpose and that is in the service of others. I can use my story to help other people who may be going through the same thing and say, You know what, there not only is there life on the other side of that event, it can be a better life than the one you had before. So yeah, I still think tragic things do happen, we can still call them tragedies. But we don’t have to live in that pain. 24 seven, we can bend it to a higher purpose.
David Ralph [29:27]
So if let’s take you back a step on to happier times, you you’re you’re getting this decision to write this book, and you basically write like a lunatic and within three or four months, you’ve got this book. Was it an easy process, Ben to get that out to the world because I know a lot of people that I speak to, they have these creative pursuits, they have these ideas, and they work on them, but actually getting it out to the masses is far more difficult than they imagined. What was the process like for you?
Clark Gaither [29:56]
Well, these days you do not need any Bonnie’s permission to publish. And that’s one thing the internet. And e commerce has certainly changed about the way businesses done on planet Earth. If you produce music or art, or if you write if you’re an author, you do not need anybody’s permission to publish. And Amazon’s a prime example, you can publish a ebook, essentially for zero cost on Amazon. And you can publish a paperback book through CreateSpace, which is also amazon for a few dollars, and they have on demand publishing now. So they will print just one book if one book is ordered, and they don’t have any on the shelf. And so it’s things have changed and people can blog essentially for free and get your message out. So polishing now is not a highly technical process. It’s not Not a long process, and it’s not a costly process. What is his marketing? And you certainly need to market your book because if you just put it out there on like, Kindle Direct Publishing KDP if you just put a ebook up on Amazon and don’t market it, the average person sells 10 copies 10 copies or less. And you know, their mother probably bought one or two. So yeah. The marketing part is, you have to put yourself out there because you’re just one of many voices and you need to stand out in some way. I did have some help and I hired a coach for that. And I am a coach. But you know, even coaches have coaches and I firmly believed and people employing people who have more expertise in the area than Do I mean think about if you’re sick you go where you go to a doctor, if you have a plumbing problem you call a plumber, you call the expert. And
David Ralph [32:08]
if you look at all he put down in entrepreneurial Well, I’d see this time and time again. The people are moving in the right direction by pay. They do exactly what you’re saying and they pay. But the people that are just starting bootstrapping it, via the ones Oh, no, duh, I can’t, I can’t afford that. Well, ultimately, if you do that you gain a couple of years experience really quickly, you’ll probably start making money and then you’ll pay it back. But there is that mindset right at the very beginning. Oh, no, I just work it out. I’m, oh, I can Google I can go onto YouTube. I can find out how to do these things. It’s a real stumbling block.
Clark Gaither [32:45]
For sure. And everybody has access to expertise. You have the world at your fingertips now. And so there is no sacred knowledge anymore. It’s all available. And so if there is something you do do not know, then go find it out. It only takes, you know, a Google search to find some information you may be short on. And so there’s an entry point for everybody into this world of knowledge. And so while you might not be able to afford Tony Robbins as a coach, I think he, you know, his fees around 100 K, you may be able to afford a coach who charges you know, $100 a session. And, and there are lots of people in between. And so, absolutely, you need the expertise of other individuals who have already made the mistakes and already learned from them and they can pass that knowledge on to you and so, absolutely, if you’re an entrepreneur and trying to do it all by yourself, there’s this feeling that that’s more noble. Then asking for help. I would, I would counsel you otherwise. So here’s some free coaching if you need some help get it
David Ralph [34:08]
and how much you’re gonna charge for that?
Clark Gaither [34:10]
No zero that’s absolutely free today. Look
David Ralph [34:13]
down. Well, a generous chap. So how did you sort of differentiate yourself? How did you find your, your individual unique branding that set you apart?
Clark Gaither [34:25]
Well, I’m known as Dr. burnout. Because of my work in the arena of professional burnout and physician burnout and that was a natural fit. You know, I am a physician and I deal with burnout and and so Dr. burnout was just kind of a natural brand. There. I’ve also got the brand powerful words and I’m developing a programme around that, that I would take a look at what it is that you are good at, or great at and drawing All your natural talents and abilities and you will come up with some unique plan for you. Don’t try to copy anyone else. It’s extremely frustrating because if it doesn’t come from inside you, if it doesn’t come originate from your core values and your own personal experience, then you’re probably not going to be successful at it. But when you stand up and use your own clear voice with the stories from your own life, and draw on all your unique experiences using your own natural talents and abilities, sooner or later you will figure out what it is you’re supposed to be doing and how you’re supposed to be doing it. And it is a journey and some people get there seemingly quickly. And others that takes you know like me, it may take you two thirds of your life to end up doing what ends up operating in your zone. of excellence and so are a zone of genius. So, you know, be patient, but keep chipping away at it, keep working at it, and you’ll get there.
David Ralph [36:10]
I think the other thing that you need to do as well, obviously, you need to work at it, and you have to work at it very hard. But listen to people’s advice, but ignore all the advice. That’s what I would say as well. I’ve had so many people telling me that I should do stuff, I should do stuff. And I should do this. And I should do that. And I’ve kind of taken it all on board. And I’ve ignored it as well. I’ve just carried on doing my own thing, but over a period of time, all those bits of advice, I started to find themes within that. And it wasn’t the advice itself. It was kind of the undertone of what they were saying. And that is leading me very much more closely to that. That zone of genius as you’re talking about. And there’s been moments when I think yeah, I mean that in the in the flow happens and everything flies, and then other times you think oh, I’m not quite in there, but so Certainly, my advice to everyone would ask people’s opinion, ignore the law, but let yes or bio computer your brain to just digest it because there’s clues within what everyone says to you. But it may not be the right thing. What do you think about that doctor gave her?
Clark Gaither [37:15]
I think that’s outstanding advice. You know, success loves clarity. And, you know, I’m one of those shiny, shiny object people, you know, next shiny object comes along, I want to grab hold of it, because I’ve got this curious nature about me, and I want to hope I want to hold on to it and check it out and look at it. But if it’s not in complete concert with your business plan, or your mission, or your goals, or your passion, passion, then it’s probably a waste of your time is probably not going to move you forward in the direction you want, or to the extent that you want and so you’re absolutely right, we’re we’re buying bombarded by all these messages, and we think, okay, if I just do this, then I’ll be more successful or if I just do that, and then the next thing comes along and you look at that, and then the next thing, so I would try to get clear on what it is you want to do, and exclude everything else. It’s okay to, to maybe scan or listen to somebody’s message. But if it’s not in concert with your goals, your stated goals, then it’s probably not the best use of your time.
David Ralph [38:33]
I listen to these words, these are the words of Oprah Winfrey,
Unknown Speaker [38:37]
the way through the challenge is to get still and ask yourself, what is the next right move? not think about, Oh, I got all of this too. But what is the next right move? And then from that space, make the next right move and the next right move and not to be overwhelmed by it because you know, your life is bigger than that one moment. You know, you’re not defined by what somebody says, is a failure for you, because failure is just there to point you in a different direction.
David Ralph [39:08]
Now, whenever defined are where you, you know, if you make a wrong decision, as you were saying earlier, you can sort of backtrack, you can change it, you can sort of move forward, but people are rooted in the spot, but the next thing that I do has to be right. That’s why it’s such a brave decision that you did. And it was leading me on to the question, what was more scary to you, the marketing or actually putting the first word down on the page and saying, this is going to go out to the world, but it didn’t, you weren’t defining it. You were just doing it as a practice until you got to the end.
Clark Gaither [39:42]
Well, since writing has always been something I’ve been good at, even you know, in grade school and all into college when I sat down to write it was actually an easy process for me because it was in my comfort zone. Marketing was completely outside of my comfort zone. And, and so, and it seemed like an insurmountable problem. But you know, there are no insurmountable problems. We just think they are. And if we don’t surmount our problems, somebody else will, on our behalf, or in spite of us. And so it seemed daunting. But as I said, I hired someone to help me through that process, and help me get my book out and marketed. It didn’t cost an arm and a leg and am I ever glad I did. Because not only did I learn about the process and get more comfortable with it, but now I’m on. I’m on so many social platforms that I actually started whittling them down to the ones that were, I felt doing me the most good in terms of my business and so it what looks daunting, Now with just a little bit of knowledge, just like Oprah just said, you take a step, you learn one little piece of the puzzle. And then you move on to the next little piece you might be missing and go acquire that knowledge and put it to use and, and so you can build the whole picture over time. And then you you step back, and you think, wow, that wasn’t so bad. No, that wasn’t terrible. I actually have fun with it now. And it’s always it’s always a big boost not only to my ego, but to it gives me an inner thrill when I do something now on my own and it works. Oh, that’s just awesome. You know, give me if you could bottle that and sell it, you would make a whole bunch of money.
David Ralph [41:49]
So with your book, why would our listeners rush out and buy it? Well, what can we gain from by publication?
Clark Gaither [41:58]
Well, the book celebrates the glorious magnificence of choice and change. Let me just put that out there. But it’s really written for authors and bloggers and speakers, or anyone who feels I have a story to tell. It will help people connect with their own words have power, so that they can better connect with other people on an emotional level. And that’s where your greatest influence lies, is connecting with people emotionally, not everybody will get your message, but some people will. And those are those are your audience. Those are your fans. And so I think everybody has those stories inside them. I’ve had people say, Well, I don’t have any good stories. I say you do. You just have to look back at your life more critically, and introspectively and they will rise to the surface. Some people say I can’t tell my story I say you can. It’s just a matter of conveying what happened to you and how you felt and what it was like what happened and what it’s like. Now, if you can convey that, in simple words, simply told, you will still connect with people on an emotional level, because if you’re, you’re speaking from within, all the emotion that was attached to those events will come through, and people will see that. And then they will emote, they will have emotional connection with you. And that’s when you get your story told, and that’s when you feel like, you know, hey, I am actually making a difference in other people’s lives.
David Ralph [43:38]
But let’s play some words now from a guy who he said these over 10 years ago, 11 years ago, but they are hugely powerful because they do exactly as you say. They tell his story, but they connect with all of us. This is Steve Jobs.
Steve Jobs [43:53]
Of course, it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college, but it was very, very clear look backwards 10 years later, again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference.
David Ralph [44:28]
That’s a real powerful little burst of words, isn’t it?
Clark Gaither [44:32]
Absolutely. I’ve got chill bumps. I love Steve Jobs. And you know what you’re looking at there. There is a prime example of something I talk about quite a bit. And it’s a trait that many of us need more of, and that’s called resilience. and resilience is a compilation or a collection of our thoughts, behaviours and actions that allow us to bounce back from adversity. It’s, it’s a it’s a form of inner strength, you know, following misfortune, somebody who has resilience, they’re able to change course. They Marshal their internal strength and they just march on, they keep marching on toward there go. And he’s absolutely right. We don’t know where all the dots are looking forward. We think we know we make plans. We sit down and draw out, you know, elaborate schemes of how we’re going to get from where we are, to where we want to be. And yet, along the way, things pop up, things happen. Some things are intended, some things are not some things we hope will happen don’t and some things we wouldn’t want to happen actually do happen. And so that changes our path. The path is altered, we go down false paths, and we have to backtrack and then move forward again. So it’s in fits and starts and stops that we get eventually to where we are. And, but if I look back at my life, and if you look back at your life and all those events and how they’re connected and how we connect to other people, we can see that it wasn’t none of it was wasted. Even even the the bad stuff. Sometimes the bad stuff is more important to us than the good stuff in our past because it teaches us something. If we’re open to life and the lessons life is trying to teach us, then we get to where we want to be sooner, and maybe even in a better place than we could have imagined. So I absolutely love that. That little bit. You played there from Steve Jobs. It’s so so true.
David Ralph [46:54]
So the question I normally lead up to so it’s a normal dog and I do the same is what would you say would be You’re big adult when you look back over your life that moment, but really kind of changed direction for you.
Unknown Speaker [47:08]
Clark Gaither [47:10]
I went one year of college out of high school, and I went because all my friends were going and because my parents wanted me to go, but I had no idea why I was there. And it was a disaster. I mean, it was it was terrible. And I did what I needed to do, which was quit, I quit college, and went to work. And one of the places I worked was Radio Shack, and Radio Shack, so retail seller of electronics and electronic parts and I was able to become a store manager. And I was given successively bigger stores as I did better with the company. And I’ll have to say my four years with Radio Shack were confidence building and gave me some skills that I would use later on. And so it was a great experience. But after four years with the company, I began to think, you know, maybe there’s, there’s more I can do with my life. And I began to entertain the thought of going back to college, and maybe trying to become a physician, because I really looked up to my hometown physician when I was growing up. And I thought, well, I like knowledge. I like problem solving. I like working with people. And so medicine seemed like that’s, that seemed like the direction I should go. But I was I didn’t want to quit my job. I had a good income was Radio Shack, I was successful in the company. And I was mulling this over one evening and one of my regular customers came in and he said, You look, you look perplexed. I actually write, write about this story and the book powerful words. He said, You look perplexed. I said, I am. He said, Well, what’s up and I told him, I told him About my time with Radio Shack and, and that was doing well with the company, but I was thinking about maybe going back to school and, and furthering my education and maybe trying to do something different with my life. And he listened intently, and I told him of my fear of quitting that I had a secure job what I thought was secure. And, and he looked at me and he said, Clark, it sounds like you can do whatever you make up your mind to do. Now, those were simple words, simply conveyed but they were powerful to me. Nobody had ever said that to me. And the minute he said them, I look back and and thought, you know what, he’s right. I made all these decisions, and things seemed to work out for me. Why? Why am I hesitating to move forward from where I am now. And I enrolled In college The next day, and so he more than anybody, I still remember his name I still I can picture his face right now. He more than anybody set me on a different help set me on a different path that really has led to where I am now.
David Ralph [50:18]
Brilliant story, absolutely brilliant story. And it leads us to the last part of your brilliant life, which is the Sermon on the mic when we send you back in time to have a one on one with your younger self. And if you could go back in time and speak to the young Clark, what advice would you give him? What age would you choose? Well, we’re going to find out because I’m going to play the theme tune and when it fades, you’re out. This is the Sermon on the mic.
Clark Gaither [51:06]
Well, I think I would go back to a time when I was probably nine years old. And I picked that age because I was in a speech contest. And I wrote what I thought was a great speech. And I practised and practised and practice and the night came for the speech contest. It was at a local service group organisation called the optimist. And I walked into the room and they’re all these older men and women sitting around tables, and there wasn’t a lot of excitement in the room, and I felt the first pang of fear there. And I got up to give my speech and halfway through I lost my place and I couldn’t finish and I had to sit down. And for years, I couldn’t speak. If two or three people were gathered together I couldn’t speak openly or freely because I thought I might say something stupid or stumble over my words. So I had this morbid fear of public speaking for many years. And that really handicapped me early on in life. And so if I could go back to age nine, I would, I would talk to myself about, about resilience, I would, I would say, believe in successful steps toward your goals. I would say Break, break those large projects down into small more manageable bits, and move through them step wise or sequentially. I would say be decisive.
indecision i think is the playground of doubt.
We need to you need to weigh all your options and make a decision. And don’t with a waffle. Don’t spend too much time thinking about it. Just make your best guess. Make your decision and move forward. It always won’t be the right necessarily the right decision. But you know, indecision isn’t the right decision either.
Unknown Speaker [53:10]
Clark Gaither [53:12]
it will save time. If you just be decisive. I would say avoid catastrophic sizing. Don’t view problems and mistakes and failures as something that’s insurmountable they never are. You can always find a solution to a problem. I would say make maintain a high altitude perspective on everything always keep an eye on the big picture. So you don’t drown in the minutiae
I would say connect with like minds.
To me nothing Foster’s success and perseverance more than hanging out with people who are positive and and who persevere I would say great change with flexibility and accountability and adaptability changes inevitable changes necessary. It’s the only way we get from bad to good or from good to better. And that’s true even if we have to go in the opposite direction sometimes to get there. So be flexible and an embrace change. I would say capitalise on failure. Failure will teach us what we did wrong or what we need to know.
And so remain open to learning.
And consider that when you fail. No one else may know what you have learned from your failure. And that’s valuable information. I would be up to mistake. It costs no more mental energy to think optimistically. And you feel better when you think optimistically plus you generate more ideas and more thoughts about having how to solve a problem when you’re optimistic. And I think it’s okay to acknowledge your feelings. It’s okay to be emotional. It’s okay to feel anger and loss and afraid and sadness. You know, feelings aren’t either good or bad they just are, whether they’re good or bad depends on what you do with them. Just realise you don’t have to live with them. 24 seven, you don’t have to let them prevent you from reaching your goals and look forward. And in time, time will take you there. And the last thing, I would say Is be whole, attend not just to your mental realm or your emotional realm but also attend to your physical and your spiritual realms because if you leave one of those on attended to your life will be out of balance and you cannot be resilient. If your life is out of balance,
David Ralph [56:24]
what’s the number one best way that our audience can connect with you sir?
Clark Gaither [56:28]
Clark Gaither calm is my website and I have information up there about Dr. burnout and all that that entails if you want to learn about professional burnout or physician burnout and what you can do about it, what the hallmarks are, what the causes are, you go to Clark Gaither comm, and my book it’s powerful words book calm.
David Ralph [56:52]
But just to say goodbye to you what is your most favourite powerful word, man, if you could just give us one
Clark Gaither [56:59]
knowledge Brilliant. It’s my number one core value and knowledge or freedom, I go back and forth on those two, but I really do value knowledge. These days,
David Ralph [57:11]
I give you the chance of one, you take two, but I’m gonna let you have that. Thank you so much for spending time with us today. joining up those dots. Please come back again when you have more dots to join up, because I do believe that by joining up the dots and connecting our paths is the best way to build our futures. Dr Clark Gaither, thank you so much.
Clark Gaither [57:29]
David has been a pure pleasure. I really appreciate it.
David Ralph [57:34]
So what does that show teacher, but it’s never too late to start. If you’ve got something in your heart, if you’ve got a passion if you’ve got a desire, even if you don’t know how to do it, you haven’t got all the bits of knowledge that make it just seem easy. Just go for it. And if you get to that point where you don’t know ask and look around and hire someone because it is totally doable. It really is doable. And as I say every day I would love it so much. If we all up in a bar in New York or somewhere and we all go, yes, I’m doing what I want to do and I’m doing what I want to do. And when we asked, How did we do it, we all look at each other and go, day by day, step by step. Thanks so much for listening. I will be here again, I’m the host of Join Up Dots couldn’t be here. Look up yourself,
David doesn’t want you to become a faded version of the brilliant self you or wants to become. So he’s put together an amazing guide for you called the eight pieces of advice that every successful entrepreneur practices, including the two that changed his life. Head over to Join Up dots.com to download this amazing guide for free and we’ll see you tomorrow on Join Up Dots.